Michaela completed her undergraduate degree in Politics and an MPhil in African Studies at the University of Cambridge. She later completed a DPhil in Politics at the University of Oxford. She became a Junior Research Fellow in politics at New College in 2019.
Michaela currently gives tutorials in four politics papers on the PPE and Modern History and Politics undergraduate degrees. These include the Practice of Politics, Comparative Government, Political Sociology, and Politics in sub-Saharan Africa.
Michaela’s research interests include the political economy of authoritarian rule, authoritarian political institutions, democratization and the history and politics of Uganda and Tanzania. She is also interested in urban informal labour markets, labour organizing and cooperatives.
Her doctoral thesis examines variation in authoritarian party cohesion and legislative institutional strengthening. She shows how contrasting institutional outcomes result from differences in the distribution of power across economic elites, which are themselves the product of different state-led development strategies. She has conducted fieldwork in Uganda, Tanzania and Benin.
Her new research project examines the organization of cooperative enterprise in Dar es Salaam and Kampala and the effects of cooperatives on labour conditions and the politics of collective action in the two cities.
List of selected publications
Power, wealth and authoritarian institutions: Comparing parties and parliaments in Tanzania and Uganda. Oxford University Press (under review).
Peer-reviewed journal articles
‘Wealth, power and institutional change in Tanzania’s Parliament.’ African Affairs (under review).
‘Pressuring MPs to act: Parliament, organized interests and pro-poor policy-making in Uganda and Tanzania.’ Democratization (forthcoming).
‘War and democracy: The legacy of conflict in East Africa.’ Journal of Modern African Studies, 56, 1 (2018): 31-61. Co-authored with Cheeseman, N. & Reyntjens, F.
‘From the electoral battleground to the parliamentary arena: Understanding intra-elite bargaining within Uganda’s National Resistance Movement.’ Journal of Eastern African Studies, 10, 4 (2016): 639-659.
Peer-reviewed book chapters
‘The Legislature: Institutional strengthening in dominant-party states,’ in Cheeseman, N. (ed), Institutions and Democracy in Africa: How the rules of the game shape political developments. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2018.
Opalo, K. O. Legislative Development in Africa: Politics and Postcolonial Legacies, Journal of Modern African Studies (forthcoming).
Perrot, S., Sabiti, M., Lafarque, J. & Fouere, M-A. (eds) Elections in a Hybrid Regime: Revisiting the 2011 Ugandan Polls. Politique Africaine, 141, 1 (2016): 199-201
‘Tanzania’s 2020 Election: Return of the one-party state.’ Written for l’Institut français des relations internationales.
‘Building community wealth globally: The Kigoma-Preston collaboration’. Written for The Democracy Collaborative, 22 November 2019.
Selected Swahili-to-English translations
Kabwe, Z. ‘The Arusha Declaration: The case for democratic socialism 50 years on’, in Speth J. & Courrier, K. (eds) The New Systems Reader: Alternatives to a Failed Economy. Routledge, 2020.
‘The Manseze Declaration’, issued by a cooperative of women market vendors in Dar es Salaam. Africa is a Country, 13 April 2020.
Shomary, F. ‘How the poor can fight back against the banks.’ Africa is a Country, 21 March 2019.
Lubala, A. ‘Bus politics in Dar es Salaam’. Africa is a Country, 23 January 2019.
Selected other publications
‘Tanzanian elections: Opposition report widespread nomination interference’, co-authored with Dan Paget. African Arguments, 26 August 2020.
‘“The old ideas are collapsing”: An interview with Gar Alperovitz.’ openDemocracy, 5 June 2020.
‘Collective action, “liberation” and Tanzania’s working poor’. Africa is a Country, 13 April 2020.
‘Opening salvo, or final shot? Factional challenges to President Magufuli.’ Presidential Power, 31 July 2019.
‘Drawing the wrong lessons from Magufuli’s rule in Tanzania.’ Africa is a Country, 6 May 2019.
‘The politics of being Auditor General.’ Presidential Power, 17 April 2019.
‘Why can’t Museveni control his party?’ Democracy in Africa, 25 February 2019.
‘Tanzania search for missing millions raises questions over $1 billion.’ African Arguments, 13 February 2019.
‘The “new” CCM, same as the old CCM? Continuity and change in authoritarian parties.’ Presidential Power, 26 September 2018.
‘President Museveni and the politics of quick-fix taxation.’ Presidential Power, 20 July 2018.
‘What Chama Cha Mapinduzi’s new Secretary General means for the Party.’ Presidential Power, 6 June 2018.
‘Uganda – On presidents, policing and power.’ Presidential Power, 30 March 2018.
‘Where President Magufuli’s political and economic strategy meet.’ Presidential Power, 17 November 2017.
‘Tensions rising over push to scrap presidential age limits.’ Presidential Power, 21 September 2017.
‘President Magufuli versus the investors.’ Democracy in Africa, 3 June 2017.
‘President Museveni’s term of “no joking around” takes a dramatic turn.’ Democracy in Africa, 5 May 2017.
‘Tanzania – Is Parliament waking up?’ Democracy in Africa, 17 March 2017.
‘Done with one election, on to the next: Museveni looks to the future.’ Democracy in Africa, 1 October 2016.
‘Museveni buying loyalty of newly elected MPs in Uganda.’ Democracy in Africa, 5 May 2016.
‘How Uganda’s government steered another state-controlled election.’ The Conversation, 19 February 2016.
‘Tanzania’s ruling party wins election (again), but poll is annulled in Zanzibar.’ The Conversation, 29 October 2015.
‘An improbable “liberation”: How Tanzania’s ruling party lost a rural stronghold.’ Africa Research Institute, 19 October 2015.
‘The ruling CCM party unites (for now) around a presidential nominee.’ Presidential Power, 17 July 2015.
‘As corruption spreads under President Kikwete, Parliament quietly gains strength.’ Presidential Power, 13 February 2015.